Breaking Ground: Engaging Communities in Extractive and Infrastructure Projects

WRI analyzed existing community engagement standards and guidance, as well as experiences in several high profile projects. Its analysis revealed that key gaps remain in the knowledge base and on-the-ground application of community engagement standards. Despite the abundance of existing reports and manuals that provide guidance on community engagement, much of the publicly available information on how project proponents engage communities reveals great difficulty in applying existing guidance effectively.

Based on this analysis, WRI developed seven Principles for Effective Community Engagement for extractive and infrastructure projects:

  1. Prepare communities before engaging.
  2. Determine what level of engagement is needed.
  3. Integrate community engagement into each phase of the project cycle.
  4. Include traditionally excluded stakeholders.
  5. Gain free, prior and informed consent.
  6. Resolve community grievances through dialogue.
  7. Promote participatory monitoring by local communities.

These principles are intended to serve two key purposes:

  1. For companies and governments developing projects: to provide a framework for identifying solutions to core community engagement challenges.
  2. For citizen organizations supporting communities: to serve as a resource, in order to empower local communities to provide more meaningful input into project design and implementation.

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